Monday, November 30, 2009

Digital Ants

Digital Ants, is not the name of a new CGI movie from Disney PixarMovies, it is a new form of antivirus technology being developed by Scientists from Wake Forest University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The program is designed to seek out viruses, malware and the like using an army of "digital ants, sargeants and sentinels". The ants perfor very simple functions in recignizing certain algorythms or status data such as connection rates, CPU memory used or any other factor of around sixty technical status details. When one of the digital ants senses something conspicuous, it releases what the developers call a "digital pheromone" which alerts other ants to come and take a look. If there appears to be any kind of unusual activity going on, then the ants report to their overseer, called a "sentinel". The sentinel then asesses the data recieved from the digital ants, and, if it considers the data to be anomalous or worthy of further investigation, it reports to it's superior, which is known as a digital "sergeant". The ants are fed digital "rewards", or perhaps pbetter said a "digital career initiative system". If an ant does not find enough data to asess, then it is declared obsolete and killed off. But if an ant does prove effective, then it is cloned and reproduced, increasing it's numbers. The offspring are then sent to monitor the detected problem. The great advantage which digital ants have over the normal antivirus software is that they do not have to eat up resources through the scanning system, rather only use the amount of ants needed to cover the detected problems, and if more need of monitoring is called for then more ants are created according to the needs of the "mission" . This means basically, that the amount of ants in the system will increase or decrease according to the amount of detections, which leaves more CPU resources free to you than a normal antivirus software, with the ants only increasing in numbers and using escalated resources, when a defense is necessary.
There are 64 types of digital ant. The researchers got positive results in their tests when they released 3 worms into their test system on a linux computer bank, which had only four of the 64 kinds of ants inhabiting it, and the ants managed to detect these worms, which they had never before seen or detected and had no previous recognition data patterns programmed!
What is even more incredible, is the fact that the ants only used four criteria of data tests in able to monitor and identify the worm virus.

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